When TV host Stephen Rojack (Stuart Whitman) pays a call on estranged wife, Deborah (Eleanor Parker), the vicious, drunken woman winds up falling off her balcony to her death. Rojack, grilled by police, does the sensible thing after his wife has just died and shacks up with old gal pal, Cherry (Janet Leigh). Rojack's father-in-law (Lloyd Nolan) contemplates pushing Stephen off of a balcony, and detectives Barry Sullivan and J. D. Cannon act like they'd like to tear his throat out. And we mustn't forget the whole host of mafia boys headed by Eddie Ganucci (Joe De Santis) and Johnny Dell (Warren Stevens) who have their own beef with Rojack. Whitman isn't bad, Parker [Lizzie] is vivid, Leigh plays it all in the key of bitter, Nolan is, frankly, terrible, Cannon over-acts in stock TV fashion, and Sullivan [Suspense] isn't much better. There are some interesting elements to An American Dream -- which is very loosely based on a novel by Norman Mailer -- but the movie is pretty much a melodramatic and at times even laughable mess. Acrophobes in the audience may have a few tense moments. Richard Derr has a bit as a producer while Murray Hamilton has a little more to do as an associate of Stephen's. Harold Gould and George Takei also have bits as lawyers. Whitman and Leigh appeared together in the monster bunny movie Night of the Lepus, which was actually a lot more entertaining than this.
Verdict: Everyone seems to be yelling -- or simmering -- to little effect. **.